Grandmother: Julieta Casimiro | Mazateken, Mexiko
Grandmother Julieta Casimiro is a Mazatec tribal elder . She lives in the Sierra Madre in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. She has 10 children, is a social support worker in her community and a Curandera, a healer. Over the last 40 years people have been coming to her to participate in her ceremonies and to receive healing and guidance for their lives.
Julieta was born in 1936, one of nine children, in the city of Huautla de Jimenéz. At the tender age of 15 she met her future husband, Lucio Isaías Pineda Carrera, whom she married 2 years later and with whom she started her family.
Grandmother Julieta was 17 when her mother-in-law, herself a healer, introduced her to the ‘holy children’ (Niños Santos), the sacred mushrooms Teonanacatl.
Together with her husband’s mother, Grandmother Julieta frequently ate the mushrooms and through the wisdom gained thereby deepened her relationship to God. With the knowledge she acquired, Grandmother Julieta was inspired to invite people to accompany on her journeys and share her insights with others. Teonanacatl literally means ‘Flesh of the Gods’ and is the basis of an important and highly developed Mesoamerican spiritual tradition reaching back to 5,000 B.C.
‘Because we have no money for doctors, we heal ourselves with the mushrooms,’ Grandmother Julieta explains. ‘No one need be afraid of taking them as they give you light, the light of understanding, the light of knowledge, truth and wisdom and wonder.’
For Grandmother Julieta’s work the Lady of the Moon, the Lady of the Stars and the Virgin of Guadeloupe are particularly important. The Virgin of Guadeloupe is the patron saint of Mexico and the physical embodiment of the Earth Goddess Coatlique, who has been revered for thousands of years. The powerful relationship between Grandmother Julieta and the Guadeloupe give her the strength to carry out her work with the predominantly feminine qualities of compassion, patience, mercy and eternal love, all of which are founded on earthly symbols and invisible energies.
When eating the sacred mushrooms under the guidance of a Curandera the superficial layer of consciousness is dissolved and the fears hiding beneath are exposed. One opens oneself up to significant visions and gains mystical knowledge, Grandmother Julieta explains. The transition into a state of profound spirituality then leads into the transpersonal and to an experience of enlightenment. A ceremony can last for 6-7 hours, beginning and ending with a prayer.
The sacred mushrooms are ‘medicine’ in the Mazatec culture. Grandmother Julieta works with people who are suffering from AIDS, cancer, emotional sicknesses, immune deficiency, as well as stomach or digestive conditions and psychosomatic symptoms of inner imbalance. Because the patient and the healer are working with energy and the Spirit, the mushrooms are able to heal many different illnesses in a single imbalanced organism, as opposed to the number of pills prescribed for each individual illness in Western medicine.
For some patients the ceremony is a place of expansion and a relaxing state of receptivity.